December is already here and winter weather has come around once again. You’ve probably felt the changes in weather in your achy joints and your motivation to get up and out of the house has officially decreased. How can you survive the winter with arthritis? Some people say cold, snowy weather affects their joint pain levels. Winter can leave you feeling helpless when it comes to this type of pain: joint inflammation, stiffness, and lack of mobility. Surviving the winter with reduced pain levels is possible and can be achieved by following these 6 tips for surviving winter with arthritis.
1. Use heated mattress pad
A heated mattress pad will not only keep you warm and toasty, but it can help decrease morning stiffness in your joints. Unlike a heated blanket, a heated mattress pad is always in contact with the sleeper and gives off much less heat. They also have controls that allow you to put a timer on so the heat is only present during sleeping hours, and adjusts the temperature to remain cozy, not hot. Shop around for the best heated mattress pad for you; like with regular mattresses some are more comfortable than others.
2. Wear extra layers
This seems obvious in the wintertime, but it’s a reminder that no matter what you do, you should layer up. Most importantly, you’ll need to keep your toes and fingers covered since these are the extremities. Even if you’re outside for just a minute, or a short walk from your car to the door of your office, keep those gloves, socks, and boots on. If you’re used to wearing dresses, a just a coat may not be sufficient. Wear leggings or tights to keep those knee joints from being exposed to the cold.
3. Keep your exercise routine
In the winter it’s easy to give into the desire to hibernate and stay inside on the couch where it’s warm. With snow and cold, outdoor exercise might not be possible, therefore an inside gym or workout routine is best. Taking a short walk around your office or the mall can also get your blood flowing and your joints moving. If your local YMCA has an indoor pool, low impact swimming exercises are great for the joints all year round. Keeping up your muscle and ligament strength directly affects your joint mobility and pain levels, so exercise should continue throughout the winter.
4. Keep Vitamin D levels up
Keeping healthy vitamin D levels can be a hard task in the winter. Vitamin D is necessary for muscle movement, communication between nerves, and fighting inflammation. It comes from a few types of food, dietary supplements, and the biggest source is from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Lack of vitamin D can worsen your arthritis and weaken your bones. Most vitamin D levels come from the sun, which is notably sparse during the winter months. To help get vitamin D in the winter, you can hop on a plane and come to Florida for some better weather, or you can easily replace your needed vitamin D with a supplement.
5. Stay safe
Risk for falls can become a concern during the winter. With snow and ice on the ground, sidewalks and driveways become slippery, and at times we won’t even see the ice before we fall. For this reason, proper footwear is essential when leaving the house in the winter. Using shoes or boots that have proper non-slip treading are ideal and avoiding shoes that have smooth flat bottoms should be avoided.
6. Take a joint supplement
Keeping your pain levels under control, as well as reducing inflammation, and supporting joint health, can all be achieved by one simple product: a joint supplement. All natural joint supplements are made up of specific ingredients that target joint related issues like arthritis. With a daily joint supplement you can expect decreased stiffness, an increase in lubricating fluid, aid in cartilage repair, and lack of side effects that occur with over-the-counter pain relievers. Joint supplements can fit in nicely with your daily diet and exercise routine.
Winter can be a cold and cloudy time of the year, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer with joint pain. During the winter months it’s important to remain on task with your exercise routine, and to stay warm and safe while traveling through the ice and snow. Your joint health should remain a priority even if motivation becomes difficult. Don’t let the snow and cold get you down! In a few more months, you’ll be back to spring and sunny weather and you’ll forget all about cold.